Prophetic Prayers No 2: The Springtime of my Heart

In this series, Hamza Ahmed offers reflections on some of the prayers of our beloved Prophet ﷺ . This prayer is a prophetic prescription for sorrow and grief.

I am Your slave, the son of Your male slave and the son of Your female slave,

Our parents provide for us, teach us, and guide the direction of our lives.

But this dua is all about recognising God’s power over us.

Perhaps, then, it is teaching us that it is only God who looks after us, and even our parents are nothing but his servants, and they can only help us if God allows it.

This is one of the wisdoms of the Prophet losing his parents and grandfather, and this happens throughout his life.

My forelock is in Your Hand

• Forelock – the hair on the top and front of a horse’s head. The Arabs used this as a metaphor for a person’s character and fate, shu’m al-naasiya, and mubarak al-naasiya.

• God uses this word in the Qur’an: “A lying, sinning forelock!” (Alaq: 16)

“Truly, I have relied on God, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature except that He has hold of its forelock…” (Hud: 56)

• The ego (nafs) is like a wild creature that needs to be tamed in order to be of benefit.

I am subject to Your Decree, Your Decree for me is true justice,

• Decree (hukm) – also carries the meaning of ‘wisdom’ (hikma).

• God’s decree is always wise.

• God is al-Hakeem. Wisdom comes only from him. Questioning his Decree is like saying we are wiser than Him.

• God is al-’Adl (Justice), not ‘Aadil (the Just One). This teaches us that our understanding of justice comes from Him. There is no law of justice outside of Himself that He has to follow.

I ask you by every name that is Yours…

• This is a reminder of God’s greatness. Only He is great enough to name Himself.

“Or which You have taught anyone in Your creation, or which You have kept to Yourself in the Unseen” – this indicates there are many names of God that exist outside the 99 Names (al-Ghazali).

• We call on God through some names, depending on what we want, but calling on Him with every Name shows how needy we are for every good.

• This is also a way of including the Greatest Name:

It was narrated from Buraydah ibn al-Husayb that the Messenger of God (blessings and peace of God be upon him) heard a man saying: “O God, I ask You by virtue of the fact that I bear witness that You are Allah, there is no god but You, the One, the Eternal Refuge, Who neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.” The Messenger of God (blessings and peace of God be upon him) said: “He has indeed asked God by His greatest name, which if He is asked thereby, He gives and if He is called upon thereby, He answers.”

Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja

Ibn Hajr: “This is the soundest of all reports concerning this matter.”

that you make the Qur’an the springtime of my heart,

• Springtime – rabee’ – a reawakening of the Earth. Perhaps this indicates to us that our hearts, even if they are dead, can be brought back to life.

“And among His signs is that you see the earth devoid of life, but as soon as We send down rain upon it, it begins to stir ˹to life˺ and swell. Indeed, the One Who revives it can easily revive the dead. He is certainly Most Capable of everything.” (Fussilat: 39)

• One of the interpretations – it means the hearts of people as well as their bodies.

and the light of my breast,

• Breast – sadr – one of the principles of tafsir is that when the word sadr is used, it refers to the lower, sinful side of a person: another reminder of humility before God.

• Light is a metaphor for guidance, because things can only be seen with light.

• A subtle indication – we might read the Qur’an but it might not light up our hearts because of our sinfulness – we have to ask God to make that happen.

and the removal of my sorrow, and the departure of my worry.

• Sorrow (ghamm) – sadness in relation to the past.

• Worry (hamm) – sadness in relation to the future.

• A reminder that the cure for these things can be found in the Qur’an. Both in the recitation of it and in the understanding of its meanings.

• The Qur’an explains to us who God is, which makes us trust Him; it tells us stories of the Prophets, which comfort us; it tells us the rules of right and wrong, which give us direction; and it tells us about the Afterlife, which gives us perspective.

Listen to the class here: